10. Cleopatra (1963)
First on our list of top 10 movie flops starred Elizabeth Taylor in the title role. And even with a big star like Taylor and adjusting for inflation, would you believe Cleopatra cost 20th Century more than $1 billion dollars? (Adjusted for inflation.)
This was easily one of the biggest box office bombs of the day. And we don’t mean in terms of cash recouped. (The film made money.) The problem was the cost overruns, the production delays, the affair rumors, and the modest success.
The crux of the film Cleopatra’s manipulation of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony in her ill-fated attempt to save the Egyptian empire. This threesome in one of the most famous and gloriously powerful love triangles ever to be captured on film.
Do you have four hours to watch a love story? That’s how much time it will take to sit through this old dud.
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Cast: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Pamela Brown, George Cole, Hume Cronyn, Cesare Danova, Kenneth Haigh, Roddy McDowall
Release date: June 12, 1963
Runtime: 251 minutes
9. Alexander (2004)
An epic story that is as daring and ambitious as its subject–a relentless conqueror (Colin Farrell) who by the age of thirty-two had amassed the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Past and present collide to form the puzzle of the protagonist, a tapestry of triumphs and tragedies.
Alexander’s rise to power, expansion of his empire, and his ultimate downfall all pale to the actor that portrays him.
Director: Oliver Stone
Cast: Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins
Release date: November 24, 2004
Runtime: 175 minutes
8. Waterworld (1995)
#8 on our list of biggest movie flops is a bomb that starred Kevin Costner. How can we take this production seriously when Costner is proudly sporting a seashell as an earring?
Most of the globe is underwater after the melting of the polar ice caps. Some humans have survived–notably the Mariner (Kevin Costner)–by adapting to the ocean by developing gills. A loner by nature, the Mariner reluctantly befriends Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn)–and her young companion Enola (Tina Majorino)–as they escape from a hostile island.
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Cast: Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tina Majorino, Michael Jeter
Release date: July 28, 1995
Runtime: 135 minutes
7. Sahara (2005)
Every still frame of this release looks as though the actors didn’t care to be a part of the project. Seasoned adventurer Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) sets out for the African desert with his sarcastic companion (Steve Zahn).
The two are in search of a ship, and its rumored treasure, that vanished long ago. When the daring duo come across beautiful scientist Eva Rojas (Penélope Cruz)–on a mission to stop a powerful plague–their desert expedition heats up.
Director: Breck Eisner
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Penélope Cruz, Lambert Wilson, Glynn Turman, Rainn Wilson, Delroy Lindo, William H. Macy
Release date: April 8, 2005
Runtime: 124 minutes
6. 47 Ronin (2013)
What makes a box office failure? A poor plot, casting, and production are just a few reasons. In feudal Japan, Lord Asano rules his province with fairness. But the jealous Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) fears that the shogun favors Asano over him and hatches a plot that ends with Asano’s ritual suicide.
After Asano’s death his samurai, led by Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), are forced to live as outcasts. Oishi wanders for several years, but realizes that he must turn to Kai (Keanu Reeves)–a mixed-blood warrior he once rejected–to help him and his ronin comrades take revenge on Lord Kira. A top 10 movie miss no matter how you look at it.
Director: Carl Rinsch
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi, Ko Shibasaki
Release date: December 25, 2013
Runtime: 118 minutes
5. Mars Needs Moms (2011)
Get ready because we’re going to Mars. Milo is a 9-year-old boy who has a lot on his mind like monster stories, comic books, and other fun stuff. He has no time for homework or eating vegetables.
Milo’s getting tired of his mom nagging him to do these things, and his mom is tired of nagging. So, Milo tells his mom that life would be more fun without her–just in time for her Martian abduction. Milo stows away on their spaceship, determined to launch a rescue.
Disney usually gets it right, but not this time.
Director: Simon Wells
Cast: Seth Green, Dan Fogler, Elisabeth Harnois, Mindy Sterling, Joan Cusack
Release date: March 11, 2011
Runtime: 88 minutes
4. The Lone Ranger (2013)
Take a role and make it your own. Seems to be good advice for an actor. But Depp’s go at the hero from the fifties doesn’t convince fans.
In 1933 a boy discovers an ancient Native American in a sideshow carnival tent. The Indian is Tonto (Johnny Depp), the old companion of John Reid (Armie Hammer)–more famously known as the Lone Ranger. Tonto takes this opportunity to set the record straight about his and Reid’s adventures.
Tonto recalls the day he first encountered the man who would become his trusted friend and tells of their teamwork bringing down Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) and other Old West outlaws.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Helena Bonham Carter
Release date: July 3, 2013
Runtime: 149 minutes
3. Gigli (2003)
Want to know the main reason why Hollywood couples rarely work together on a picture? Because it does not translate on film. Gigli (Ben Affleck) is ordered to kidnap the psychologically challenged brother of a federal prosecutor.
But plans go astray, Gigli’s boss sends in Ricki (Jennifer Lopez)–a free-spirited female gangster–to assist. Gigli begins falling for the decidedly unavailable Ricki, which could be a hazard to his occupation. Their relationship takes a dive and so did this flop.
Director: Martin Brest
Cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha
Release date: August 1, 2003
Runtime: 121 minutes
2. Battlefield Earth (2000)
This screenplay is bad. No one liked it. Not film critics or fans. In the year 3000 there are no countries or cities. Earth is a wasteland, and man is an endangered species.
As the leader of the evil Psychlos, Terl and his race have taken over the world’s natural resources and disregarded everyone else. It’s up to Jonnie “Goodboy” Tyler, a brave human, to battle the Psychlos and restore normalcy to the world. Two thumbs, way down.
Director: Roger Christian
Cast: John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forest Whitaker, Kim Coates, Sabine Karsenti
Release date: May 12, 2000
Runtime: 117 minutes
1. Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Ranked #1 on our tally is Cowboys & Aliens. The entire concept sucks. We love cheeseburgers around the office and we also love chocolate cake, but we don’t eat them together.
Despite a great team that includes Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, and the direction of Mr. Jon Favreau, the pairing of these two genres just didn’t work. Amnesiac gunslinger (Daniel Craig) wanders into a frontier town called Absolution. He quickly learns that strangers are unwelcome, and no one does anything without the approval of tyrannical Col. Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford).
But when Absolution faces a threat from beyond Earth, the stranger finds that he is their only hope.
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, Clancy Brown, Paul Dano, Noah Ringer
Release date: July 29, 2011
Runtime: 118 minutes